Skip to comments.Judge Dismisses Denver D.A.'s Unconstitutional Jury Tampering Charges ( jury nullification )
Posted on 12/17/2015 9:06:06 AM PST by george76
Mitch Morrissey tried to imprison activists for passing out jury nullification pamphlets.
Last August, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey charged two local activists, Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt, with seven felonies each for passing out jury nullification pamphlets at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. Morrissey continued to pursue those charges even after conceding that such activity is protected by the First Amendment. When I asked Lynn Kimbrough, Morrissey's public information officer, what Iannicelli and Brandt had done that crossed the line from constitutionally protected speech to felonious jury tampering, she refused to say. That's probably because Morrissey had no case, as confirmed yesterday when Denver District Court Judge Kenneth Plotz dismissed the charges against both men, which he concluded violated their First Amendment rights.
What happened here is pretty clear: Morrissey abused his office to punish people for speech that offended him. He persisted in that effort even after it became abundantly clear that the charges were unconstitutional, as when a federal judge in Denver ruled that activists have a First Amendment right to do exactly what Iannicelli and Brandt were arrested for doing: passing out literature arguing that jurors have the authority to judge the law as well as the facts ... It would be perceived as a losing battle [by] a first-year law student.
Yet Morrissey is not alone in seeking to imprison people for defending principles he abhors. Last month Michigan activist Keith Wood was arrested for handing out jury nullification literature outside the Mecosta County courthouse. Wood was charged with jury tampering,
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
As much as I hate to agree with a seahawks fan you are absolutely correct.
Lets looks at a hypothetical example.
In some mostly liberal states self defense is still against the law. If on any jury where it was reasonable that someone would defend themselves, I would NEVER convict the one who defended himself. Regardless of what the local law says, our foundational documents guarantee our right to life. Any law that violates that is unconstitutional
In many major cities it is still illegal to carry a concealed weapon. This is blatantly unconstitutional even if the legislatures have voted to do it. You cannot violate the Constitution with a mere law. The juror is required by patriotic duty to judge every law in accordance with the Constitution.
A recent case in (The pacific northwest I think) of the man who was persecuted for collecting rainwater that fell on his own property! There is NO Constitutional authority for any legislature (or other government entity) to steal his water. This was an unconstitutional taking by government. The juror is required to judge in accordance with the Constitution.
AP, you sound like a prosecuting attorney who just wants the peasants to sit down, shut up and take what their "betters" have decreed for them. You have to realize that WE THE PEOPLE are the ultimate authority in this country. During jury duty WE judge the law as well as the case and no one has the authority nor the power to force us to violate our conscience.
“Jurors should acquit, even against the judge’s instruction if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty, they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.” Alexandar Hamilton.
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” Thomas Jefferson.
“It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” John Adams.
I’ll stand by Tom, Alex and John when serving on a jury.
Are you involved in the judicial system in any capacity? If so, in what capacity?
In Putra, authorities had videotaped two transactions in which Putra and a codefendant (a major drug dealer) sold cocaine to a Government informant. The indictment charged Putra with, among other things, one count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute one ounce of cocaine on May 8, 1992; and a second count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute five ounces of cocaine on May 9, 1992, both in violation of 21 U. S. C. Â§ 841(a)(1) and 18 U. S. C. Â§ 2. The jury convicted Putra on the first count but acquitted her on the second. At sentencing, however, the District Court found by a preponderance of the evidence that Putra had indeed been involved in the May 9 transaction. The District Court explained that the second sale was relevant conduct under USSG Â§ lB1.3, and it therefore calculated Putra’s base offense level under the Guidelines by aggregating the amounts of both sales.
Here’s something everyone, on both sides of the jury nullification argument, needs to keep in mind: the most prominant recent example of jury nullification is the acquittal of OJ Simpson.
Jury nullification has a long history in the US, a once accepted practicr that fell out of favor in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. But given the growth of things like identify politics at the price of logic and reason, it’s pretty damn dangerous. It’s probably better to replace “loony supporters for these times” with “supporters for these loony times”
Those cases deal with the use, in sentencing AFTER conviction, of charges for which the defendant was acquitted. Acquittal means not proven it does not mean lack of evidence. A convicted defendant loses many “rights” such as allowing a police officer to search without warrant. You are a classic example of what I mean; i.e. you know nothing of law and yet believe you are competent to determine what is or is not constitutional.
So you are over two hundred years old?
Jury nullification is a concept understood, discussed, and considered to be a balance on judiciary malfeasance by the founding fathers.
Show me where it is in the constitution. I eagerly await the clause.
Idea, not supporters in my above ... Apologies for the misquote.
He isn’t John Jay.
But he is far closer to him than you are.
Black robed justices aren’t our high priests.
They do not supercede the constitution to us.
When we see a conflict, the constitution wins with us.
You are (by your own words) an entirely different sort of animal.
Judges used to charge the jury a practice not done today. The judge would read the facts give the jury the law applied to those facts; i.e. ‘if you find the defendant did such and such then you should acquit.’
I'm ending my comments on this thread as arguing with proponents of jury nullification is like arguing with a marijuana addict. Reason does not prevail.
Uh, numbnuts, SCOTUS reversed itself five years later on this. So who is the blowhard now?
Ad Hominem. Neither are you.
So Lucius I assume you set no store by the legal principle of" Settled Law". The resolutions were political statements not matters of judicial precedent.
Look up what it says about double jeopardy in the Constitution and get back to me. Folks like you are the ones who make prosecutorial and judicial abuses of power possible.
“...judges give the law”?
Sure about that counselor?
I have been in several jury pools, and at the appropriate point in “voir dire (sp?)”, which is legalese for “jury tampering by the lawyers,” the judge always intones something like, “Is there anyone among you who would not follow my instructions on the law?” My hand always goes up, I am called forward, and inform the judge that I would take his instructions under advisement but I alone would interpret and apply the law.
I have been dismissed at that point every single time.
Sounds like the judge in one case where I was called as a juror. It seemed that throughout the week-long trial the jury got more abuse than anyone. I don't buy the "just vote them out of office" spiel: these "nonpartisan" office holders get no scrutiny whatsoever from the press, and there's precious little information to go on at election time.
I've been selected as a juror twice. In each case I did not swear an oath, but was "deemed" to have sworn one by the judge, who didn't have time for such pesky details. So the whole process as a juror was one of coercion and bullying.
Between the inane judges, grandstanding or incompetent attorneys, and weepy, irrational jurors ignoring all evidence presented, my impression of our "justice system" has only gotten lower.
And don't get me started on police officers....
I don't actually have a position on nullification per se, I've not researched such things. But the judicial process seems mightily dysfunctional from what I've seen.
Smooth way to get cut loose. I’ll remember that one.
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